In Lebanon the term forest fire indicates all fires occurring in forests, wildlands, pasture land, and even in agricultural land. Most fire-prone forests are stands of Pinus pinea, Pinus brutia and Quercus spp. Wildfires occur both on private and government property.
The fire database in Lebanon was established in 1998. However, data are available for the last four years(Table 1.). It is often difficult to determine the causes of fires. It is known, however, that in addition to the traditional and well known causes, the war in Lebanon and all military actions sometimes cause forest fires.
Tab.1. Number of forest fires and area burned in Lebanon,1996 and 1999
Number of fires
Area burned (ha)
The civil defence, which operates under the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for fire control. The Ministry of Agriculture is also establishing a fire protection unit. It operates a radio communication system for early warning, 26 vehicles for initial attack and four engines with a tank capacity of 7 500 litres. The Lebanese army has three functional Bambi buckets that were used for the first time in 2000.
To reduce forest fire risk, the Ministry of Agriculture directs people, NGOs and municipalities to prune forest trees at least near roads to reduce “ladder fuels” and prevent crown fires.
The Ministry of Agriculture intends to build water reservoirs next to forests and lookout towers for fire detection.
Michel Bassil Ministère de la Agriculture Chiya-Beirut LEBANON